|Thesis abstract: |
New techniques aimed at the direct characterization of the response of semiconductor detectors and of the associated front-end electronics are an essential factor for the successful development of a new generation of detection systems compatible, for example, with the present and future high brightness Free Electron Laser sources of X-rays because of their unprecedented beam properties which demand to the detector side the ability to handle high charge levels (up to 10^7 electron-hole pairs per pixel), a dynamic range up to 1:10000 and ultra-fast readout speed. Even higher levels of charge generation are expected in the planned detection arrays for the upcoming nuclear physics experiments which require suitable techniques and instrumentation for calibration and diagnostics in such non-standard operating conditions. To this aim we investigated two techniques, based (i) on the use of mono-energetic proton bunches, available at the DEFEL beam-line at LABEC (LAboratorio di tecniche nucleari per i BEni Culturali), Italy, for high levels of charge injection and (ii) on a table-top pulsed IR laser system, suitable for low and medium injections levels (up to ~10^5 electrons). In addition to the optimization and expansion, with the introduction of new instrumentation, of the pulsed IR laser facility, the activity has been focused on the improvement and qualification of the performance of the DEFEL proton beam line at LABEC. We upgraded the beam line performance in terms of spatial resolution of the proton beam with novel remotely controlled in-vacuum hi-resolution profiling slits and with a CMOS imager as 2D beam monitor. Up to now a beam spot down to about 60?m x 40?m has been achieved and potentially can be further improved. The time jitter of the proton bunches is better than 0.5 ns opening the way to probe also the transport dynamics of the charge carriers with accurate time resolution. A great effort has been also devoted to the implementation of a novel general purpose multi-channel data acquisition (DAQ) system, 500 Msample/s 12 bit, capable of full shape digitization of the output signals coming out from multi-channel devices under test. We present the development of the DAQ system, including the dedicated C language-based acquisition control software, and the functionality tests carried out with the system developed so far. We probed the test suite through qualification campaigns on two relevant case studies: we report (i) the characterization, with monochromatic protons, of the Double Sided Silicon Strip Detectors (DSSSDs) used as first and second detection stages of the telescopes that constitute the FARCOS (Femtoscope Array for COrrelations and Spectroscopy) array and (ii) a detailed qualification, carried out at low and medium levels of charge generation with the laser test suite, of a pixel matrix with DePFET (Depleted P-Channel Field Effect Transistor) readout, that is a first prototype of the DePFET-based pixel detector developed by the DSSC consortium (DePFET Sensor with Signal Compression), a collaboration aimed at the development of a large area 2D X-Ray imaging pixel detector for the new European XFEL.